The Boat That Fits in your Backpack
2 years ago

It's easy to fold a tiny paper origami boat that 'sails' - but a new full-sized foldable plastic boat can sail with a person inside, and folds out from a single flat sheet in just two minutes.

Another model of the £800 'Foldboat' can be folded up and carried in a backpack.

The boat is folded from a 8ft by 5ft piece of plastic and can be transformed from a flat sheet to a rowing boat by a single person in two minutes using only three components.

Design students Max Frommeld, 29, and Arno Mathies, 26, were both studying for their Masters degrees in production design at London's Royal College of Art when one day they came up with the idea for the Foldboat.

During a workshop in which they were encouraged to make furniture out of paper, they started making origami boats and realised they could put their idea into action.

The single sheet can be folded over and over again up to 6,000 times and the Foldboat comes in two designs - one that folds into an easy-to-carry parcel and one that unfolds completely flat.

Costing around £800, each is equipped with a pair of oars made from ash with plastic blades, plus waterproof, floating cushions that can users can cling onto if the boat should capsize.

Creator Arno said it takes minutes to assemble, comprising of just three folds and a couple of clips to hold the sides in place.

Arno said: ‘By manipulating the material, we have created live hinges allowing you to fold and un-fold the plastic sheet into the shape of a boat. It's a bit like the hinge on the lid of a shampoo bottle and it can be folded multiple times.

‘They are great to row in because they are very relaxing and comfortable. Instead of a seat each Foldboat comes with two cushions so the rower is always nice and comfy.

‘The flat version we imagine will be popular with people who want to hire the boats out as they can be stacked on top of each other and assembled very quickly.

‘The parcel version we think will be good for anyone who needs a small boat to transfer to a large vessel because it's very easy to store and may be helpful for NGOs during floods when they need to get to people quickly.

‘You just fold it, clip it together then push it out into the water.'

Max and Arno first displayed their invention in London during last year's design festival and are now working to put their creation into production.

The Foldboat is available to order now. For more information go to

by Rob Waugh (DailyMail UK)

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